Victory! In October 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that public schools must turn over records relating to special education placements.
Champa v. Town of Weston Public Schools, a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, has implications for both students' rights and students' privacy. The case is about the degree to which settlement agreements between Weston Public Schools and the parents of students with disabilities regarding the placement of the students in out-of-district private schools are subject to disclosure under the state public records law.
The ACLU of Massachusetts has long defended and promoted both the right of access to government records and the right to individual privacy, and has a strong interest in seeing the correct balance preserved in this case. To that end, the ACLU brief in Champa urges the Court to (1) hold that the unredacted agreements are education records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and student records under Massachusetts regulations, and (2) remand with instructions for the Superior Court to determine whether the agreements have been or can be redacted to remove all direct and indirect student identifying information so that they can be disclosed.